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Always Look after your Paws!

Emma Gibson

Are your pups paws bothering him, or are they bothering you?!  From time to time our best friends paws need some extra TLC.  After all, they do twice as many steps as humans!

Has your dog always been fond of licking and chewing his paws, either incessantly or just occasionally?  Here's a few causes you can try to eliminate without a trip to the vet.  If your dog has either wounded his paws himself from chewing, or a paw has been injured then please seek the advice of your vet.

  • Think about what your dog's paws are exposed to.

- Often itchy or red paws are a sign of allergies.  There's a possibility it may be diet related, but it's more likely it's something in their environment so think about the following:  Floor cleaners - try to use natural brands, or even better - white vinegar.  This has amazing cleaning properties around your home AND is also great for deterring roaches, crickets and other bugs.    Anything you treat your grass or yard with may also be an irritant to your pets paws.  Avoid chemical pesticides!

  • Consider Diet

Yeast thrives on sugars to live and grow so it's important to look at what your dog is eating.  Dry food diets high in starches metabolize as sugar in your dog's body and will feed the yeast colony.  Look out for the following ingredients in your dog's food and try to eliminate them, at least in the short term:  Corn, potatoes, rice, beet pulp, peas, legumes, pasta.  Choose ingredients with lower glycaemic index, and they should make up make up only about 10% of the diet:  Green leafy vegetables, oats, quinoa, wheat germ, and even carrots, sweet potatoes and squashes.  Ciao Bella Burgers are formulated with real fresh whole food ingredients and a fresh food diet in general can help your dogs paws stop itching.  Chicken is a frequent allergen for dogs so Ciao Bella Burgers - NO Chicken are perfect for this!  Order a free trial pack now!

    • Check your dog's paws thoroughly and regularly:

     - if the toenails are too long they should be cut to the right length.  Healthy dogs need their nails cut as often as every couple of months, and letting them get too long can cause pain and bone problems.  Jax Pet Sitting did Bella's toenails this week!  She can do your pups too and walk them at lunchtime for you!

    - are the toenails in good condition with no visible signs of splitting, flaking or cracking?  Like human nails, your dog's toenails should be in good condition, if not and your dog's skin and coat is also dry and flaky you may need to look at diet supplementation.

    - check for any bits from outside that may be stuck in between the toes:  thorns, leaves, seeds, bark, stones etc.  Your dog may not be entirely comfortable with you doing this, often they are tickly between the toes, but he shouldn't yelp or show unnecessary distress.

    • Do your dog's paws smell funny? 
    - Not necessarily unpleasant, but maybe a little doughy, like fresh cooked corn chips or sourdough bread?  So long as it is not a pungent or overwhelming smell it's quite normal and more than likely down to yeast.  Yeast is a naturally occurring bacteria that is normal in small quantities but under allergens or certain ingredients in the diet may grow and colonize areas, leading to that pungent almost cheesy processed corn chip aroma.  As well as your dog's paws, this may also be noticeable around ears, belly and armpits.  It may or may not be bothering your dog but if it gets too bad it'll become a very stinky yeast infection, so it's important to keep it in check.  Take a look at the next few points and if they don't work (you'll need to give it a couple of weeks) then it may be an allergic reaction so best to see your vet and consider allergy testing.

       

      • Give your dog a foot bath!

      Depending on the size and nature of your dog this may be an easy or difficult task!  With toy dogs its easily done in a basin or the sink, for large dogs you can fill the bathtub to a few inches deep, or bathe each paw one by one in a basin or bowl.  If using a sink or basin, fill with 3-4 gallons of lukewarm water and add 1 cup each of baking soda, white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar is even better) and hydrogen peroxide.  You want each paw to be soaked in the solution for a few minutes.  This gets right into all the nooks and crannies, between the toes and under the nails.  If getting your dog to stand in the bath for more than a second is proving challenging try keeping him occupied with fussing him, treats or these licki mats work really well!   The ingredients in this footbath are antibacterial, antifungal and soothing for itchy paws.  Once done, simply towel dry your dog's paws and do not rinse.  It doesn't matter if he licks his paws, the ingredients are natural and non-toxic in this dilution and he'll probably want to lick his paws dry.  If other areas of his body are irritated or stinky you can use this solution there too, sponge or swab with cotton and don't rinse.

       

      • Create an inhospitable environment for yeast and other undesired organisms

      - Dogs naturally have a low pH and this is vital to keep them healthy.  An acidic environment is unattractive to parasites and harmful bacteria both internal and external.  Dogs who eat a fresh food diet, especially those who enjoy raw meaty bones as part of that have acidic systems which protects them.  Dogs with higher pH are more prone to not only skin and digestion issues but also urinary and bladder problems.  Add a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (with"the mother") to your dog's fresh water bowl every day to help regulate his pH levels to where they should be.

       

      • Take care of your dogs paws!

      When the weather is extremely hot or cold, you need to take care of your dogs paws!

      -  In winter, in urban areas where the streets and sidewalks have been treated with salt and antifreeze PLEASE PLEASE rinse your pups paws when you return from your walks - antifreeze is highly toxic when your dog licks his paws after a walk, and salt is dehydrating.  Just a quick rinse with warm water will do it!  If you want to protect your dogs paws further, there are several waxes on the market like this that will help keep out the salt, cold and dryness and protect your pup's paws.

      -  If you live in places like us in Texas where it gets super hot in the summer months PLEASE PLEASE do NOT walk your dog on sidewalks or streets during the day!  These surfaces get to temperatures well over 100 degrees and will burn paws!  Just stand on baking streets in the afternoon in your bare feet and see how hot it is!  Try to keep your dog on grass during the day and do your road walks early in the morning or later in the evening when the surface has cooled down! 

       

      Note - If your dogs paws are in visible pain or he has sustained an injury, please consult your vet!


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